Pisa and its monuments
Pisa has about 97.872 inhabitants (2000), is one of the most important art towns in Tuscany.
The Leaning Tower is the symbol of Pisa,
visited every day by thousands of people. Conceived of not only as a bell tower, but also as a belvedere for the square below
- from the earliest times the loggias have served as 'grandstand'
for religious events and fairs - it rises 58.36 m above the level of the
foundation, just under 56 m over the level of the countryside, and
its inclination, measured at the base, is over 4 m. The average subsidence
of the base is 2.25 m, while the progressio of the overhang, despite all
attempts so far made to bring it to a halt, is about 1.2 mm per year.
For further information and online reservations, please consult the Opera Primaziale web site.
In size and aspect the Baptistery ,
an imposing construction with a circular ground plan and dedicated to
St. John the Baptist, is, together with the Cathedral, the Tower
and the Camposanto Monumentale, one of the local points of the Piazza
dei Miracoli. Construction was begun in 1152 by Diotisalvi in
Romanesque style. It was continued about a century later by Nicola
Pisano who added the airy loggia with its Gothic embroidery of
triangles and aediculas, the setting for sculpture from the workshop of
Nicola and Giovanni Pisano. The finishing touch to this marble gem is
the dome, terminated in the 14th century, covered with tiles and lead
plaques and crowned by a bronze figure of the Baptist, attributed to
the 14th-century artist Turino di Sano.
Of the four portals, the one on the east which opens onto the splendid
facade of the Cathedral, is the finest and artistically most elaborate.
The jambs are decorated with beautiful relief of pure Byzantine
inspiration which depict, on the right, the Apostles, the Ascension and
David, while on the left a trenchant series of the Months. The lintel
is divided into two tiers; in the lower one is a description of
Episodes in the life of St. John the Baptist, in the upper one, Christ
between the Madonna and St. John the Baptist with Angels and
The Cathedral of Pisa is an inseparable part of marvelous four-piece ensemble of
masterpieces of architecture and art which makes the Piazza dei Miracoli what it is.
The group of buildings so scenographically set in the piazza del Duomo of Pisa leave
the visitor with an impression in part real and in part unreal, like a fairy tale,
due first and foremost to the striking contrast of the white marble with the green
lawn and blue sky. In Roman times the Palatium of Emperor Hadrian stood here and subsequently a
place of worship dedicated to Santa Reparata was built on top.
In early 1998, just over 500 metres from the Piazza dei Miracoli, the remains of the
urban harbour of Pisae were brought to light.
The exibition is held at the
Arsenali Medicei, Lungarno Simonelli.
Details and photo at the website